I Can't Get Next to You

"I Can't Get Next to You" is a 1969 number-one single recorded by The Temptations and written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the Gordy (Motown) label. The song was a number-one single on the Billboard Top Pop Singles chart for two weeks in 1969, from October 18 to October 25, replacing "Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies and replaced by "Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley. The single was also a number-one hit on the Billboard Top R&B Singles for five weeks,[1] from October 4 to November 1, replacing "Oh, What a Night" by The Dells, and replaced by another Motown song, "Baby I'm For Real" by The Originals.

"I Can't Get Next to You"
Single by The Temptations
from the album Puzzle People
B-side"Running Away (Ain't Gonna Help You)"
ReleasedJuly 30, 1969
Format7" single
RecordedHitsville USA (Studio A); June 23, June 24, June 27, June 30, July 2, and July 3, 1969
GenreFunk, psychedelic soul
G 7093
Songwriter(s)Norman Whitfield
Barrett Strong
Producer(s)Norman Whitfield Platinum (RIAA)
The Temptations singles chronology
"Don't Let the Joneses Get You Down"
"I Can't Get Next to You"
"The Weight"
"I Can't Get Next to You"
I Can't Get Next to You - Al Green.jpg
Single by Al Green
from the album Al Green Gets Next to You
ReleasedNovember 1970
Format7" single
RecordedMemphis, Tennessee; 1970
Songwriter(s)Norman Whitfield
Barrett Strong
Producer(s)Willie Mitchell
Al Green singles chronology
"Right Now, Right Now"
"I Can't Get Next to You"
"Driving Wheel"

The single was the second of the Temptations' four number-one hits on the United States pop charts, and was also one of the best-selling singles the group released. Billboard ranked it as the No. 3 song for 1969.

The applause that starts the song, which is cut short by Dennis Edwards' spoken "Hold it, hold it, listen" line, was sampled in another Temptations song "Psychedelic Shack."


"I Can't Get Next to You" was the second single from the 1969 Temptations LP Puzzle People, with "Running Away (Ain't Gonna Help You)", a ballad led by Paul Williams, as the b-side. The single was a number-one hit on both the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the Billboard Top R&B Singles chart. The song has been frequently covered, with the most notable cover being a 1970 version by Al Green, which strips the composition of its fast pace and multi-lead vocals, and instead renders it as a slow-burning plea for love.[citation needed] Green's cover, the title track of his 1971 LP Al Green Gets Next to You, reached number sixty on the Billboard Hot 100, and number eleven on the R&B chart.


Chart historyEdit


In 1970, The Osmonds (with newly added youngest brother Donny) covered the song on their eponymous MGM debut album as the finale of a medley of Motown hits. They later released a full version of the song on their 1974 album, Love Me for a Reason.

In September 1971, the British group Savoy Brown included a slower and bluesier version in their album Street Corner Talking. It was based on the Al Green version that came out a month before on his album, Al Green Gets Next to You.

In 1976, The Jess Roden Band included a version on their album Play It Dirty, Play It Class.

In 1993, the Brazilian blues band Big Allanbik, covered this song on their first release Blues Special Reserve.

In 1995, Annie Lennox covered the song on her Medusa album, with a slight lyrical alteration to reflect her gender.

In 2000, Westlife used the song for the medley part of their Where the Dreams Come True Tour.

In 2002, Toto covered the song on their album Through the Looking Glass. In the same year, *NSYNC also covered a portion of the song on their Celebrity arena tour as part of a three-song Temptations medley.[11]

In 2006, San Francisco band Thee More Shallows covered the song on their EP, Monkey vs. Shark.

In 2008, Lil Wayne sampled parts of the song for his song "Oh I", which was originally intended for Tha Carter II but did not make the final track listing, and had the chorus sung by Reel with different lyrics.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 571.
  2. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1969-10-25. Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  3. ^ "Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  4. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  5. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, October 25, 1969
  6. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  7. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, December 19, 1970
  8. ^ "RPM Top Singles of 1969". Library and Archives Canada. RPM. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  9. ^ Musicoutfitters.com
  10. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 27, 1969". Archived from the original on January 25, 2019. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  11. ^ "NSYNC Temptations Medley". YouTube. 9 May 2007. Retrieved 9 November 2017.

External linksEdit